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Sen. Tim Kaine remains optimistic on federal budget

Tim Kaine wearing a brown sport coat
Crixell Matthews
VPM News File
Sen. Tim Kaine speaks at a 2022 event hosted by Chamber RVA.

According to the Virginia senator, “This should be the easiest year to get the budget deal.”

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine sketched out a path forward for funding the government and passing a bill providing aid to Ukraine in a call with reporters Friday.

Congress avoided a government shutdown on Sunday, Oct. 1 by passing a continuing resolution to keep it funded through Nov. 17.

“In some ways, this should be the easiest year to get the budget deal, because we've already voted on what the numbers are: the deal during the last brinksmanship around default,” Kaine said.

In May, then–Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden came to a deal that would hold spending flat until after the 2024 elections, the Associated Press reported at the time.

However, McCarthy was removed from his position as speaker on Tuesday, after eight Republicans — including Virginia Rep. Bob Good — and all House Democrats voted in favor of a motion to vacate. Good said that the most immediate deciding factor for him to remove McCarthy was passing the continuing resolution.

That resolution did not include funding for Ukraine aid, which Kaine supports sending. Since February 2022, the U.S. has sent $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, according to the Department of Defense.

“My gut tells me that during this period of confusion on the House side where they don't have a speaker, that the likely path forward on Ukraine aid is that the Senate will prepare a bill that will hopefully be consistent with what the Biden administration is requesting of us,” Kaine said. “If we can do that and do it with a bipartisan vote as the House is taking time trying to reorganize internally, we'll move forward on that.”

Kaine saw the politics of Ukraine aid in the House of Representatives being mostly related to whether a new speaker would allow it to come up for a vote.

Kaine is on both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee.

The press office of Kaine’s colleague, Sen. Mark Warner, expressed a more pessimistic sentiment in a weekly press email: “The historic removal of Speaker McCarthy likely portends difficulty passing future spending legislation.”

Jahd Khalil covers local government, the economy and labor issues for VPM News. Previously, he covered state government for RadioIQ and was a freelance journalist based in Egypt.